BETRAYAL AT HOUSE ON THE HILL (2ND EDITION)
By Lex "Gaz the Dungeonmaster" Ansems on October 15, 2014
Every town has one, even yours and mine. That creepy house at the end of a street no one dares to enter. The house where an old man died and still haunts it to this very day. Therefore no one dares to walk up to it and knock on its front door, let alone sleep in it for a night. Nevertheless, be prepared for one of those crazy, creepy and overall terrifying houses with the game Betrayal at House on the Hill
*Que ominous thunder*.
In Betrayal you explore a house with a party of 3 to 6 players and play through a series of rounds, dungeon crawler style. Halfway through the game, when the house is completely built up and all the players are decked out in cool stuff, the haunt commences and everything goes bat shit crazy. The haunt changes according to the moment and room in the game and thatís a big plus in this game.
The game consists of 2 parts; first you explore and build the house by drawing the rooms from a tile pile (haha, that rhymes). Every room tile has a certain symbol on it, which can be events, items or omens. Depending on which symbol you get, you then draw a certain card and resolve the card or keep it (depending on the card). At the end of each playerís turn, if you drew an omen card, you roll the dice. These dice are special, because they have blank sides and only go up to 2. If you roll more than the number of total omens on the table, you are fine, however a lower number will result in a haunt, the second part of the game.
When the haunt happens, you check what type of haunt it is. There are FREAKING 50 types and each of them has specials rules, however most of them involve 1 of the players betraying the rest and trying to kill them. The betrayer must leave the room in real life (not the room in the game) to look at his secret agenda, while the rest of the players look at theirs and discuss a strategy.
The game is well balanced, so each side does actually have a chance to win. If the haunt happens early in the game, the heroes are weak, but so is the bad guy. When it happens later in the game, the heroes are stronger, however so is the bad guy. The game is suited for 3 to 6 players, however more having more players does have its advantages, because there will be more to explore, more to do and more options will be available to you. So in this case, more is better.
Betrayal at House on the Hill comes with pre-painted plastic figures, which is nice, however they look a bit flimsy and are not the best quality. The room tiles are well designed and donít slide all across the table. The cards are big, easy to read and look great, with an overall great design.
Now here comes the bad stuff of the game: Even though I am excited that there are 50 haunts, which is really awesome and gives Betrayal at House on the Hill great replay value, the second time you get a haunt, it will not be as fun as the first time you played it. So even though this might sound greedy, 50 haunts just isnít enough. The most hate inducing things ever are the stat sliders, they just wonít stay on the correct number. You are better of picking a pen and paper and just write it all down. The game has quite a bit of rules on EVERYTHING which can make things a bit overwhelming for new player, however there arenít as many rules as in other dungeon crawlers (Iím looking at you D&D, with your 3 rule books for a basic game).
Betrayal is a great game to play. The randomness of the haunts and the cooperative/free for all style is fun and exciting. The game looks and feels great and if I think back to my last game, in which I was a mad scientist who wanted to blow everybody up with his big bomb (which I won btw, YAY me), I canít wait to play again.
BETRAYAL AT HOUSE ON THE HILL
Wizards of the Coast
Published: 2004 (1st edition), 2010 (2nd edition)
Designer: Bruce Glassco
Players: 3 - 6 players, ages 12 & up
Playtime: approx. 60 minutes